DR. ROB SIEBERT
24.02-1947 – 25.08.2020
Robbie was born in Zimbabwe and attended the Guinea Fowl School in Gweru.In 1966 he came to Cape Town to study medicine at UCT and he graduated with an MB ChB in 1972.
In 1973, he married Penny Coleman, a nursing sister and in 1974 he completed his internship in Harare. Thereafter he spent eighteen months in Bindura as a medical officer.
Anaesthesia became his interest and so Rob and Penny moved to Durban which, at that time, had a very good department of anaesthesia under the leadership of Professor John Downing. Eighteen months later Rob returned to Cape Town to complete his registrarship and in September 1981 he qualified as an F.F.A. (SA).
In 1983, with the help of 6 Beck’s beers, he was encouraged (inveigled) to join Jenkin and Associates in the private sector. The Jenkin Practice also encompassed provincial sessional appointments at GSH, Victoria and Conradie Hospitals.
Rob proved to be a boon for the group and his own practice took off like the F 35 Lightning. He rapidly became a fully integrative and contributive member of the practice. In 1990, Jenkin and Partners became known as Southern Anaesthetic Associates. He was elected onto the Executive Committee of this association where he initially held the role of Secretary and later Practice Financial Manager. Southern Anaesthetic’s day to day management was successfully orchestrated by Rob. He was approachable, fair and kind to the office staff. Rob built his anaesthetic practice on expertise, punctuality and personality. He would always be willing to assist colleagues with difficult cases or emergencies. Rob’s even tempered, astute and confident approach endeared him to the nursing staff and surgeons alike. His practice covered most of the surgical disciplines. He was solid.
Over the years Rob anaethetised not only myself but also several members of my family. We had the utmost confidence and trust in this man. In both the theatre and on the Executive Committee Rob was known for his mental flexibility and emotional balance – something that not all of us can muster. He was elected as vice chairman of the Cape Western Branch of SASA 1987-88 and chairman of the CWB of SASA 1988-89. He also functioned as the CWB area representative on the SASA council 1989.
Rob enjoyed board sailing and was an excellent deep-sea diver. He often assisted as Dive Master both at Orca Industries and in the Comoros. He played squash with Peter Nicolle every Friday for 30 years. This was a special friendship both in theatre and on the squash court. More importantly, Rob was the quintessential family man. His family came first. Rob and Penny created a cohesive family unit with their three children, Timoney, Jamie and Sarah. The holidays at Cintsa in the Transkei were the highlight of the year for the children. The last years have been extraordinarily unkind to the Siebert family. Most notably the tragic passing of Sarah, and the illnesses of Penny and his brother, Vernon.
My relationship with Rob began in 1966 at College House UCT and lasted for over 50 years. In addition to the work camaraderie, our families were of the same age and, thus we shared many days windsurfing, walking on the mountain and chatting over a braai, Rob with beer in hand. We walked a long road together.
His passing is a huge loss both for his family and for the friends who knew him well. I wish to thank Barry Penn for his support and care shown to Rob during his last days.
Written by Dr. Eric Bean